It’s estimated that 450 million people across Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to clean water and basic hygiene.

This greatly increases their risk of infection if the novel coronavirus reaches their villages. Nearly 600 COVID-19 cases are already confirmed across the continent.

Israeli nonprofit organization Innovation: Africa (iA) – which installs Israeli solar and water technologies in remote villages in Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Cameroon and South Africa — is ramping up its efforts to prevent mass infections.

“How can we tell these communities to wash their hands when there is no clean water? Their medical facilities do not have proper equipment, refrigeration or even light to work at night,” says Sivan Ya’ari, CEO and founder of the award-winning Innovation: Africa.

“We operate in areas where COVID-19 could wipe out entire villages. I feel a greater sense of urgency than ever to bring them access to clean water and electricity.”

Over the past decade, Innovation: Africa has delivered light, clean water, drip-irrigation technology, education, maternal healthcare and more to about 1.7 million people across 300 villages and 10 countries.

An Innovation: Africa staff member overseeing the raising of a water tower tank. Photo: courtesy

This year, iA expects to work around the clock to complete another 200 water and solar projects, said Ya’ari.

Just one solar water pumping system provides up to 10,000 people with clean water. iA engineers developed a remote monitoring system broadcasting real-time updates on the solar pump’s functioning and the village’s water consumption, enabling the team to identify any potential issues before they affect the communities.

“Without clean water, these areas do not stand a chance against COVID-19. Innovation: Africa works directly with local governments to reach the areas they are otherwise unable to,” Ya’ari said.